Storm causes power outages, canceled flights, in Canada's Nova Scotia

A man runs past tree limbs and debris scattered on the sidewalk as heavy rain and gusting winds from Storm Grayson cause disruptions in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada January 4, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Calabrese

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - More than 80,000 customers were hit by power outages in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on Thursday evening, leaving parts of the city of Halifax in the dark, as eastern Canada was battered by a massive storm arriving from the United States.

More than 85,000 customers were affected in Nova Scotia as of 6 p.m. EST, according to data from the Nova Scotia Power utility website.

Most departing and arriving flights were also canceled or delayed at Halifax Stanfield airport.

In Montreal, 85 flights were canceled on Thursday because of snowstorms affecting airports in Canada’s so-called “Maritime” provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and through much of the eastern United States, an airport spokeswoman said.

“For the Maritimes, it is a cocktail of precipitation and strong winds,” Environment Canada meteorologist Jean-Philippe Begin said by telephone.

Parts of Nova Scotia were pummeled with winds of around 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour and heavy rain, according to a notice by Environment Canada. The storm closed schools and businesses in Nova Scotia, while downing road signs and littering streets in Halifax with tree limbs and other debris.

Working in the pelting rain, Halifax resident David Harris used a chain saw on Thursday evening to help remove parts of an entire tree that had fallen on a neighbor’s house, obstructing the entrance.

The fast-developing storm has been dubbed by forecasters as a “weather bomb,” a “bombogenesis” or “bomb cyclone.” Through Friday, as much as 45 centimeters (17.72 inches) of snow is expected in parts of New Brunswick, while more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of snow could be dumped on the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in the province of Quebec, according to Environment Canada.

Reporting by Darren Calabrese in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Writing by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Sandra Maler